Highland Park shooter confesses, Patrick Daley Thompson gets 4 months and more in your Chicago news roundup

Today’s update is a 5-minute read that will brief you on the day’s biggest stories.

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Dozens of mourners gather for a vigil in downtown Highland Park, one day after a gunman killed at least seven people and wounded dozens more attending Highland Park’s Fourth of July parade, yesterday.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Good afternoon. Here’s the latest news you need to know in Chicago. It’s about a 5-minute read that will brief you on today’s biggest stories.

This afternoon will be partly sunny with a high near 80 degrees. Tonight will be mostly cloudy with a low around 68. Tomorrow will be mostly cloudy with a 40% chance of thunderstorms and a high near 78.

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Afternoon Edition
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Top story

Highland Park suspect confessed to July 4 massacre, drove to Wisconsin but opted not to shoot there, prosecutors say

Robert Crimo III has confessed to firing more than 80 shots from a roof during Highland Park’s July 4 parade, killing seven and wounding dozens, and has told investigators he thought about firing at a group of people in Wisconsin hours later but decided against it, officials said today.

Police and prosecutors have so far disclosed no motive for one of the worst mass shootings in Illinois, but Crimo apparently had an “affinity” for the number 47, which was painted on his car, according to Lake County Major Crimes Task Force spokesman Christopher Covelli.

Flip the numbers, Covelli said, and you have 7 and 4, the date of the shooting.

The disclosures came after Assistant State’s Atty. Ben Dillon told a judge during a bond hearing this morning that Crimo, 21, has made “a voluntary statement confessing to his actions.” The judge denied bail.

On the day of the attack, Crimo dressed in women’s clothes and wore makeup to disguise himself and hide his tattoos because he feared he would be recognized.

Dillon said Crimo admitted that he took a position on the roof of a building overlooking the parade route and “looked down his sights and opened fire.” Crimo fired a 30-round magazine, then fired two more. Police found 83 shell casings on the roof, Dillon said.

Five people died at the scene, and a sixth died later at a hospital. A seventh victim died yesterday afternoon. In all, more than two dozen people were hit by gunfire, Dillon said.

After firing off nearly all of the ammunition he had, Crimo climbed back down and ran away but dropped the rifle, Dillon said.

The gun was traced to Crimo within an hour. It had been legally bought by Crimo in 2020 when he was 19. Authorities say his father had to sponsor him to get a Firearm Owners Identification card because the age limit is 21.

Crimo made it as far as the Madison area, where he spotted a group of people and thought about shooting them with a second rifle in the car. But he decided against it because he hadn’t done enough advance planning, Covelli said.

He turned back, dumped his cellphone in Middleton, Wis., and was finally spotted Monday evening in North Chicago, about eight hours after the shooting. He was arrested around 6:30 p.m. after a short chase at an intersection about 10 miles from the shooting.

Andy Grimm has the latest developments in this tragedy here.

More news you need

  1. The gun that Crimo used was a Smith & Wesson M&P15 semiautomatic rifle, which, according to the manufacturer, is an AR-15 style weapon with initials that stand for military and police, our Frank Main reports. Crimo had obtained a state firearm owner’s identification card when he was 19 after his father gave him the adult consent he needed, authorities said yesterday.
  2. Those who fled the scene of the mass shooting in Highland Park left behind many personal items — strollers, chairs, blankets and more. Now, some of those items can be picked up at Highland Park High School. But not all of them will be available immediately due to ongoing investigation, the FBI said. 
  3. In the aftermath of the Highland Park shooting, the Ravinia Festival announced the cancellation/postponements of all concerts through July 10. The venue will remain closed through Sunday.
  4. Former Chicago Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson has been sentenced to four months in federal prison for cheating on his taxes and lying to regulators. The charges stem from a federal criminal case that cost him his seat on the City Council earlier this year.
  5. Five months ago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot asked nearly two dozen prominent Chicagoans to “re-imagine” the 57-acre Museum Campus and recommend ways to “maximize” its year-round benefits — with or without the Bears. Our Fran Spielman and David Roeder break down the working group’s expensive and ambitious ideas here.
  6. The air conditioning failed this week at a Rogers Park multi-unit apartment building where three residents died during an extended heatwave in May. But this time, James Sneider Apartments management made a cooling center available, a resident said.
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A bright one

Gelato shop backed by magician Penn Jillette coming to Lincoln Square, will feature magic, juggling, ventriloquists

Penn Jillette, the world-famous magician, would have done just about anything to work at the sort of gelato shop that Chicagoan Jay Bliznick is opening in Lincoln Square — even cut his beloved ponytail.

“If I had worked there, I’d be a much better magician than I am today,” Jillette said.

No, the gelato doesn’t have magical properties. It is not enchanted. But the shop will employ aspiring magicians, jugglers, ventriloquists and other performers as scoopers who — when not slinging frozen desserts — will perform on a nearby stage. A professional performer will be on staff as a mentor.

It also will feature a dime museum fashioned after P.T. Barnum’s famous exhibition of sideshow acts and oddities — think: mummified mermaid. Jillette is an investor in the shop.

Jay Bliznick, owner of Sideshow Gelato, who calls himself the “impresario and thaumaturge of Gelid Confectioneries,” seen with a cane and a fake cup of gelato outside the future gelato shop at 4819 N. Western Ave. in Lincoln Square.

Jay Bliznick, owner of Sideshow Gelato, calls himself the “impresario and thaumaturge of Gelid Confectioneries.”

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Sideshow Gelato is the dream of Chicagoan Jay Bliznick, who’s setting up shop at 4819 N. Western Ave., down the street from Lincoln Square’s main drag. He plans to open by March.

Bliznick said the sideshow element of his shop is a celebration of human diversity and being different.

“These people made names for themselves at a time when there were no choices to be successful,” he said. “They found and built a community of people together and made more money than the working acts, like sword swallowers or trapeze artists.”

He said that any money collected as a suggested donation to view the dime museum will go to charity.

Mitch Dudek has more on the new shop here.

From the press box

Your daily question ☕

Have recent local and national tragedies changed how you feel about large gatherings? Tell us why or why not.

Send us an email at newsletters@suntimes.com and we might feature your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.

Yesterday, we asked you: What’s something bringing you comfort during these unsettling times?

Here’s what some of you said…

“Sitting on the front porch and having a mug of coffee with my wife first thing in the morning, and a glass of wine in the evening.” — Floyd Sullivan

“Prayer along with my Cohiba Cigar and Gentleman Jack whiskey helps me.” — Kenneth McClellan

“My 4-week-old baby. She is perfect.” — Annie Shallah

“My adult children. I truly love and appreciate the time we spend together. Conversations offer a different perspective on life experiences and it’s comforting to know you have a part in raising kind and responsible adults.” — Heather Grey Porter

“Cute and funny memes and videos on Facebook.” — Nanette Fabros

“It helps to have good friends in these precarious times.” — Chris Vaughn

“My kitten Mitten, she is so cute and cuddly.” — Aicha Elmir

“Any time I have a fishing pole in my hand! That’s gotten me through some of the darkest moments I’ve ever known, especially in these last few recent years.” — Bradley Nawara

“Today I was sitting at my kid’s swim lessons, thinking about my hometown, Highland Park, and how sad I was. Then my daughter’s perfect, little head popped out of the water, and I just felt so happy and lucky in that moment.” — Paul Degen

Thanks for reading the Chicago Afternoon Edition. Got a story you think we missed? Email us here.

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